Design Review Part 1: The What – Functional Wall Art



The primary inspiration by my final project was actually my upcycling project (depicted below). I loved creating a wall art piece to be displayed in my families home as a gift to my mother, and drew from this experience to create an even better piece. I want this final project to be a graduation gift for my little brother, to then be used in his dorm room as a functional wall art to lighten up and decorate his room!

I want this final project to have a very rustic (hence the wood being the primary material) that captures the feeling of being the mountains, but also having the functionality portion that the LED light strips will bring to the piece. As depicted above, I found the geometry and overall design for my final project, from that of another artist who creates wonderful wall art depictions of the Flatiron mountains by hand cutting aluminum into the outline and geometry shown above (reference listed below). I drew out an initial sketch myself with the overall width and height that I am trying to achieve as well, to get the “feel” for how this will work with a wood medium.

My initial plan for fabricating this project, was to laser cut the outline. By creating a Solidworks model that matched the dimensions and overall depiction as sketched above, I would then be able to upload the file into the laser cutter to then accurately and precisely cut out the final product! However, due to recent events on campus, I think I will be forced to create this using a jigsaw (which I so happen to have). This process will undoubtedly be more time consuming and more rigorous and challenging, but I am confident that the overall “feel” and look that I am trying to achieve will still be manageable.

Once the cutout is complete, I then plan to attach a Bluetooth LED light strip system to the back, allowing my little brother to control the color and frequency of the lights from his phone in coordination with the music he is playing. I personally think that this is the perfect addition to make this piece “pop” and add the dynamic portion required that also is perfect for any college student.


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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Brooke Shade
    May 3, 2020 4:54 pm

    I think it works in your favor to use a jigsaw rather than a laser cutter or other campus resources. Although it may not have nice, clean edges, the overall project will look very rustic. There is something that I just love about decor that is hand-made, specifically wood-work. It takes a lot of effort, but I think it looks nicer in the end. Great job so far!

  • Great job Austin, the design looks intricate for wood working, but it is a really cool project. Would love to see the end product.

  • Austin,
    I love that both of your projects have centered around being gifts for family members. That adds an extra level of inspiration to each piece of work you do, and makes it something truly special. I know that with the events on campus, your manufacturing process has changed and has gotten more complicated. Do you feel that this will mean changes in the overall final product, such as size or complexity? I’ve never worked with a jigsaw before so I don’t know how hard it is to cut the wood the way you want. I’d also love to know more about the LEDs. Will they be lining the shape of the mountains, back-lighting them, or something else? I love LEDs, especially ones that can change color and be controlled remotely, so I am very excited to see all of this come together!

  • Hannah Walsh
    March 15, 2020 6:56 pm

    Your upcycle project turned out great, with a very clean overall finish and aesthetic. I think your idea to continue with this method and materials is a way to ensure a final product you can be proud of. I’d like to know more about the light strips in the back – will they highlight the mountains, or is it just a straight strip at the bottom, bottom & top, etc. I think you can really change the full aesthetic depending on the lighting


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